About a month ago I had the brilliant idea that I would do 5-10 minutes of yoga every morning to try and combat my chronic pain. Yoga helps fight stiff joints and muscle tension, slows down stress and it apparently gives you more energy throughout the day (so they say). I love yoga, but I hate mornings. I only lasted about 2 weeks. I still tell myself I'm going to do it and I'm hoping once I publish an article about it and post it on the unforgiving internet, maybe, just maybe, I'll actually keep up with it for longer.
If you're not an early bird but have tried to make healthy activity a part of your morning routine, you may be able to relate to the myriad of thoughts that go through my head as I engage in this particular kind of self-care.
Whose idea was this?
The bed is warm, a cat is curled up next to me, I still have a few minutes before I really have to get up... and then I remember that I promised myself I would do this. Suddenly the world is too bright and I'm filled with instant regret. Why would I do this to myself? Whose idea was it to make the things that are good for you so hard to do?
Okay. If you get up and do yoga, then you can have a piece of chocolate later.
Ah, bribery. It even works when you're talking to yourself. The secret is letting myself believe that I actually will get a treat later, even though most of the time I don't. When I'm ready to eat anything as sweet and rich as chocolate, I'm over halfway through my day and have moved well past the need to entertain bribes.
Just do it! You'll feel better.
I set my goal low at only 5 minutes, so I would be more likely to complete the routine and convince myself that I actually do have time to fit yoga into my morning. A longer routine would almost definitely bring more benefits, but right now the focus is to just. do. it.
Hey, good job lazy bones.
Getting to the mat is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Maybe with a nap? No? Fine, let's just start with savasana then.
Oof! I slept on that wrong.
As I'm going through the routine, I usually discover a few particularly wicked kinks and knots. Sometimes that means extending the routine to spill over into the 10-minute mark, despite my self-assurance that I was only committed to 5 minutes. There's nothing like yoga to make you aware of just how badly you needed to stretch.
How do they bend like that?!
I usually follow a YouTube video since I can't remember all the poses, especially when I'm still not sure what year it is as my brain slowly begins to register that I'm awake. While I consider myself to be somewhat flexible, there are some "simple" poses that I just can't do. The digital instructor will say "don't push yourself, just accept your body's abilities as they are right now." So, I accept my body's ability to sit down and pet a cat.
Alright, almost there.
The routine I follow usually ends with a nice, strong, stable mountain pose. It's the moment where I know I'm almost done, but need to follow through this last pose with patience and strength before I'm allowed to melt into a heap of grogginess and procrastination.
I did it!
Can I go back to bed now?
Even though I moan and whine about it, there are actually quite a few benefits of doing yoga in the early hours of the day. Morning activity and stretching can loosen and train your body so it's less prone to poor posture, soreness and drowsiness. As someone trying to combat chronic pain, I'll take what I can get.
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